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VSU one step closer to Ashley Cinemas purchase

Ashley Cinemas, Valdosta’s $1.99 theatre, might one day be no more when VSU’s purchase of the theatre becomes finalized.

VSU’s proposal to purchase Ashley Cinemas for various possibilities such as parking space, lecture halls and even for demolition was approved in September by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

“We have to look at the way the campus is growing,” Phil Gunter, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs said in The Spectator February article “VSU pursues purchase of Ashley Cinemas”.

“(Ashley Cinemas) is a valuable piece of land.”

More definite plans will form when VSU closes the sale but for now the purchase has not been finalized, according to Thressea Boyd, assistant to the president for communications.

The school does plan to lease the theatre from the Georgia Theater Company and keep it in business for the time being.

However, one of the possibilities of the purchase involves demolishing the theater in order to use the area for expansion of the athletic complex in order to include a women’s track team track.

Sights are also set on the theater’s 273 parking spaces for the North Campus athletic fields, such as the Billy Grant field.

The planned Health Sciences and Business Administration Building was brought up as another reason for the purchase.

“(Ashley Cinemas) was not purchased for parking,” Boyd said. “It was purchased in anticipation of the Health Sciences and Business Administration Building being approved, at which time we will need additional parking, as well staging area for construction.”

If all goes according to the Master Plan Addendum, the building, planned to be built next to North Campus’ Pound Hall, will expand space for the College of Nursing and College of Business by 22 classrooms and 141 offices.

Another proposed long-term plan is to use the building for lecture halls and theater spaces.

Auxiliary funds will be used to fund the $2,398, 000 theatre purchase.

Attempts were made to contact Georgia Theatre Company and Ashley Cinemas officials but received no response.

Ashley Cinemas opened in July of 1979 with only four screens and was owned by Litchfield Theaters, according to Scoville from The Spectator February article “A legacy in jeopardy.” The theater now has eight screens and has been owned by Georgia Theater Company since 1991.

“Before Valdosta Stadium Cinemas 16 was built Ashley Cinemas and the Valdosta Mall were the two main places to see movies,” Kiley Thompson, a life-long resident Valdosta said in the same article.

Ashley Cinemas has also participated with Valdosta Stadium Cinemas 16 in Georgia Theatre Company’s annual ‘Film & Food for a Cause’ since its start in 2004. The theatres’ tickets and concession sales during the event go towards charities such as Greater Valdosta United Way.

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